Last reviewed 17 September 2013

In this article, Croner Consultant Editor Desmond Waight highlights a few compliance issues he observed during a recent roadside enforcement activity run by the police and VOSA, at which he assisted as a voluntary specialist advisor.

Drivers daily checklist

At the recent roadside check I attended with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the police, one vehicle was found to be carrying insufficient fire extinguishers.

On questioning the driver, it transpired that the vehicle is used almost continuously round-the-clock, although with different drivers. The driver stated that he had earlier completed a “daily check list” before taking over the vehicle, including a requirement to verify that the correct amount of fire extinguishers were present, although he hadn’t actually checked the fire extinguishers.

This is not the first occasion, and certainly won’t be the last, where drivers are signing checklists without actually carrying out the checks. On a previous occasion observed during a DGA audit, a tanker driver had regularly been ticking a box on the checklist confirming that “the packages were all properly labelled”. Managers need to ensure that these checks are in fact carried out as intended.

Stop cocks

Clause of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) exempts the carriage of machinery or equipment, not specially specified in ADR, but only provided that “measures have been taken to prevent any leakage of content in normal conditions of carriage”.

In clauses (b) and (b), exemption is also given when vehicles or other means of conveyance (such as boats) are carried as a load while containing fuel in the tanks. However, this requires any fuel cocks between the engine or equipment and the fuel tank to be closed.

During this recent enforcement activity, the police were also looking out for the movement of stolen machinery, so a number of vehicles were stopped for checks. This gave the opportunity to consider whether this aspect of ADR was being observed.

One of these vehicles carried a small portable generator that had a gravity-fed fuel system, with a stopcock that had not been shut. Shutting of the fuel cock would be appropriate under Another vehicle carried several large agricultural tractors. Many older tractors have a gravity-fed fuel tank system and are fitted with stop cocks between the tank and the engine. However, modern tractors are fitted with fuel pump systems (as are cars) and do not have stop cocks that would need to be closed during carriage.

No vehicles carrying LPG-powered fork-lift trucks were stopped on the day concerned, but such vehicles clearly are fitted with fuel cocks that do need to be closed when carried as part of a load, in order to gain the exemption.

This is something to look out for, for those involved in the movement of machinery and vehicles and other means of conveyance carried as loads.

Driver training for Limited Quantities

Though ADR may now (with effect from 2013 Edition) have introduced some uncertainty as to its intentions (see Notes under 1.3.1 below) it is believed that the intention is that the drivers of vehicles carrying only dangerous goods in Limited Quantity (LQ) packages shall be appropriately trained as required by Chapter 1.3. This so they can, for example, understand what vehicle-marking provisions are required when the load on the vehicle exceeds the eight tonnes gross of LQ packages, as specified in Chapter 3.4.

One driver for a very well-known grocery supermarket, when asked, stated that he had never had training in the carriage of LQ packages from the supermarket concerned, and promised to bring this to the attention of the transport manager when he got back to the depot.

Notes under 1.3.1

The uncertainty was introduced by the change to the notes under 1.3.1 of the general chapter on training. Note 2 was amended to read “see chapter 8.2 instead of this section”, from the 2011 wording “with regard to the training of the vehicle crew, see chapter 8.2”.

Chapter 8.2, at 8.2.3, however, says that persons other than those drivers holding an ADR certificate “shall have received training … according to Chapter 1.3”, while 1.3.1 Note 2, as stated above, says “see Chapter 8.2 instead of this section”.

The Department for Transport did at one stage indicate that it would provide guidance on the issue of training for drivers carrying only LQ packages, but this so far has not yet appeared. A similar issue arises regarding the training of drivers carrying only Excepted Quantity packages, as Chapter 3.5 does require compliance with the training requirements of Chapter 1.3.

Documentation issues

ADR requires (, in the paragraph after subparagraph k) that there shall be “no information interspersed, except as provided in ADR” within the mandatory ordered information (this being UN number, Proper Shipping Name (supplemented as required), class information and, if applicable, packing group).

One transport document examined had interspersed information about the flashpoint of the material between the Proper Shipping Name and the “class” information. Though not worthy of any enforcement action, it is indicative of a failure to properly read and apply ADR.

Another transport document carried the notation “Carriage in accordance with”, despite the fact that the journey was entirely within Great Britain with no carriage by sea element even remotely likely.

This statement is only required when the goods being carried have been, or will be, also carried by sea or air and advantage is being taken of the provision in ADR that allows the packages, containers, portable tanks or tank containers to not meet the requirements for packing, mixed packing, marking, labelling of packages, or placarding and orange plate marking of ADR. However, this is the case only if they are in conformity with the requirements of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code for the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions.

Statement on the transport document is then required to alert any enforcement officer, or other persons, to the fact that this provision has been used.


This provision was introduced particularly during the transition from specification packaging to the UN-approved packaging scheme. With the increased harmonisation between modes these days the need for reliance on this provision is increasingly rare, especially with packaged goods. The statement, in the view of the author of this article, should not be routinely added to transport documents.

Indelible hazard panel markings

ADR requires that the UN number and the hazard identification number (HIN or Kemler Code), as shown on the ADR orange plates of tank units, “shall be indelible and shall remain legible after 15 minutes’ engulfment in fire”.

The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (SI 2009 No 1345, known as CDG2009) requires, in Schedule 1, the HIN to be replaced by the appropriate EAC for domestic journeys by domestically registered vehicles.

In the case of tanks constructed before 1 January 2005 the regulations exempt these from the requirement for the orange-coloured plates to remain indelible and legible after 15 minutes’ engulfment in fire.

One vehicle inspected was carrying UN 3475 (PSN of “ETHANOL AND GASOLINE MIXTURE” or “ETHANOL AND MOTOR SPIRIT MIXTURE” or “ETHANOL AND PETROL MIXTURE”). In each holder an additional hazard warning panel had been placed, without embossed digits. The panel behind the visible one could be seen to have embossed digits that would meet the “indelible and legible” requirement. However, as this tank was newly constructed in 2013 (as clearly shown by the markings on the tank), the hazard warning panel for the UN 3475 should have had indelible digits. In this case the driver was made aware of the non-compliance and advised to arrange for this to be corrected before any further carriage.